Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wistful Wednesday: German Cats and Dogs

My maternal Grandmother liked cats and dogs.  She had a way with animals.  I could never understand how she taught her critters to understand German. 

As a young person I found foreign languages just that F.O.R.E.I.G.N.  My Mother spoke German and my Father spoke Finn..and I spoke English.  I think my parents preferred it that way..Dad would talk to his brothers in Finn and Mom would talk to her sisters in German..I recall my Mother saying that she felt left out of the Finn conversation..well join the group. I felt left out of all the conversations.  I think maybe they did it on purpose so that little ears would not hear adult “stuff.”

Back to Grandma and her German understanding cats and dogs. Grandma always had some kind of wiener dog..a Dachshund..low to the ground with toe nails that would click all the way across the linoleum that covered the kitchen floor. Their names were always similar too..Doxie and Dixie and Trixie..or some such name that is buried so far back in my head that it won’t come out when I want it too.  Grandma would tell that dog to sit, roll over or dance and twirl in German and the little fat elongated dog would do whatever Grandma said. Then Grandma would give the dog a treat..my Grandma was an excellent cook.. no doubt the dog liked her cooking too! 

These are Grandmas Cats..sitting on the front step..waiting..waiting for Grandpa to come out carrying the slop pail..or waiting for him to go and milk.

Grandmas cats that understood German

Those cats had a perfectly warm barn to go to..yet here they were huddled on the steps.  I noticed that someone brought Grandma a wooden ski decoration and a festive wreath, I wonder why one ski was stained and one was natural looking?  I will guess that this photo was taken some time in the 1970’s around Christmas time.

In later years I would attend a dog obedience class with a Police Officer and his K9 partner.  He spoke to his dog in a foreign language and with hand signals..it was then I understood.  My Grandmother didn’t want just anyone ordering her animals around.

We have a winner of the snow stick contest..the snow left March 13 at about 3:30PM.  Chance will reveal the winners and the prizes tomorrow:)

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19 comments:

  1. I did not know that your grandma had doxies! I love the pic of the cats waiting by the back door. Your memory brings to mind my grandpa carrying out the slop bucket after meals.

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  2. What a wonderful story.

    Hubby is an excellent dog trainer and is careful to use words that aren't normally spoken to remain in control of the dog.

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  3. Yawohl. Das it neat, My grandfather spoke German on the porch with a bunch of old geezers when I was a child. However, Ich konnen nicht Deautsch sprechen. Or something like that.... :)

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  4. Those little weiner dogs always make me smile. I saw one yesterday, overweight, and his legs were barely long enough to keep his belly off the ground. But they are cute. I would guess that, to a dog, all human languages are foreign, since we hardly ever bark! :-)

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  5. Hooray...no snow! I bet your world is looking different now!
    As a kid I always thought it would be great fun to teach a dog commands in a different language.... so they would only respond to me! I never did it...probably because I've never been proficient in another language! We did teach one dog to stay away from something if we said 'poison'! That's about as exotic as I got with training!

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  6. It's fun to ready your memories of your heritage. It doesn't take too many generations for those kind of stories to be lost forever. Hope the kids know that.

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  7. Odd how we regret not being taught another language...my Mom is Dutch, and was told not to teach us when we were little. What we would give to be able to converse now in that language.

    When you think of it, a command is just that, a way of forming noise to tell the animal what to do, if it's in one language or just gibberish, it still means the same thing to the animal that has been trained to react to the noise... I trained our dog to come to the one German phrase I knew, not Dutch, LOL just German.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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  8. I grew up with a little porch/step like that too. We called it the stoop. Maybe that's a southern thing since my parents were both from the south. Our cats would gather there too. thanks for the memory.

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  9. Great story. Congratulations to the snow stick winner.
    We're going to get 80s this week. Crazy.
    Hope you are all having a great day! :-)

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  10. That is interesting that your parents both spoke the family language. Usually it is the grandparents for sure. My late wife's mother spoke Norwegian to her mother as that is all that she spoke, not much English. Jim was yim to her, I think cats stay where the potential food source might drop by and give them something.

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  11. There is no cat I know who responds to orders in any language. I was beginning to wonder if her cats would respond to German. ;)

    I did know about the canines, though. My husband's office had dogs who responded in German, and then they got some trained in Hungarian or something more exotic. I wonder if the dogs ever talked to each other. =>

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  12. What a great story, ya think Pepper Nipper would obey better in Spanish??? I've gotta find somethin' that works. Her three weeks in solitary confinement (the girls hot to trot) is almost up!

    It would be an excellent way that you and only you could give your dog commands.

    God bless and enjoy this beautiful day! :o)

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  13. I never thought of that...foreign words so they'd only listen to you!

    I know I wish I had learned some Swedish from my Grandpa but he wanted to be "American" so even his sons never learned Swedish. Many people have told me I have a bit of a Swedish accent at times. Yah, I can fall into the rhythm of how my grandparents spoke English. Youbetcha! ;)

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  14. German was often spoken in my home. I wish I had actually learned to speak it. I thing we are better for having heard other languages.

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  15. I love memories of grandmas, don't you?

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  16. Very cool picture! And I like your new header too.

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  17. When we were kids, we differentiated between sets of Grandparents by the dogs' names. We would ask if we were going to Grandma Skipper's house or Grandma Duz's house.

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  18. I have a Rottweiler and a Dachsund...both German dogs....what am I doing with 2 German dogs...I'm Irish! That is a smart idea to teach them different words for common commands because I feel the same way. My dogs are very well trained and I don't like when people come over and want them to "perform"....it's humiliating for them....they're not circus dogs and I know it hurts their pride. I usually tell people that too. Although, I don't teach them "tricks" per se. But I do encourage them when I see them doing something cool. Like Nitty, the Rott, will crawl on her belly for long distances...I think she's really scratching it but I like to think she had a relative in one of the wars and they crawled under barbed wire and through trenches and it's in her genes. That's what I tell her anyway. Every time she did it I would encourage her and tell her to crawl so she knows it now. Animals like to have roots too and hear about their family...so...I tell them.

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  19. Do you speak German...pretty cool the cats understand German.

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie